Niterra to take over spark plug business from DENSO

The spark plug is an essential part of a car as without it, the internal combustion engine would not run (though diesel engines don’t need them). Naturally, mechanics know spark plugs well and motorists once were also more familiar with them.

These days though, car owners are unlikely to handle spark plugs as ‘DIY’ is no longer common and most people just leave it to the workshop.

For those who do know spark plugs, the names that have been best known for decades would be Champion, NGK and DENSO. These brands have been popular as original equipment as well as aftermarket replacement parts.

NGK and DENSO, both Japanese companies, are naturally the choice of Japanese carmakers although they are also used by many other global carmakers.

NGK and Nippondenso spark plugs

However, DENSO (which is a Toyota Group company) will soon cease its spark plug business (along with some other components and systems) and has signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) this month for the transfer of its Spark Plug and selected Exhaust Gas Sensor products (Oxygen Sensor and Air-Fuel Ratio Sensor) to Niterra Co., Ltd.

Who is Niterra?
You may wonder who Niterra is and it is actually NGK’s new name. Known as Nippon Tokushu Togyo Kabushiki-geisha when it was founded in 1936, the company has been better known by its English name of NGK Spark Plug Company Ltd.

In April this year, its name was changed to Niterra Company Ltd., created from combining the Latin words ‘niteo’ meaning ‘shine’ and ‘terra’ which means ‘Earth’.

Niterra NGK NTK
Niterra will continue to use the NGK brand for spark plugs, glow plugs and related products, while NTK products are related to IC packages, sensors for exhaust gas cleaning, ceramic tools and other items.

The company says it ‘expresses the Group’s desire and stance to be a company that not only contributes to a sustainable society, but also makes the entire global environment brighter’.

However, its products will still be branded ‘NGK’ which is very well known worldwide and would be wasted if its used was not continued.

DENSO will focus on EV products
DENSO explains that its decision to move away from products related to internal combustion engines is driven by the increasing focus on electrification and electric vehicles.

“The automotive parts industry is expected to work to develop products for electric vehicles, while at the same time maintaining the competitiveness of the industry as a whole through various means including promoting business integration for products for internal combustion whose market is expected to shrink in the future,” the company says.

Oxygen sensor
An oxygen sensor monitors the oxygen levels in exhaust gases and sends the data to the computer which will make the necessary adjustments to the air-fuel mixture to ensure that the levels are within regulations for exhaust emissions.

By transferring operations related to these core internal combustion engine products to them, DENSO aims to enhance the product appeal of internal combustion engines parts by combining technologies and manufacturing capabilities.

Based on this MoU, both parties will proceed with discussions and negotiations toward finalizing the business transfer contract.

The transfer will take place only after official approval has been obtained from competition law authorities in all countries and regions concerned, and after fulfilling all other requirements.

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